News

Hazel Wright comments on High Court ruling that Islamic faith marriage falls within English matrimonial law in The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, the Daily Express, Family Law Week and Scottish Legal News

  • August 01, 2018
  • By Hazel Wright, Partner

In the Independent Review into the application of Sharia Law in England and Wales, published in February 2018, it was acknowledged that Sharia Councils cannot celebrate legally binding marriages. This is unlike the position for other faiths, such as Christianity and Judaism, which do not have this “double ceremony” requirement. But those following these faiths may want to have a religious divorce (for example a get for Jewish people) which is not the same as a court ordered divorce.

Over 90% of those approaching Sharia Councils about divorce are women, who are particularly disadvantaged if their relationship breaks down, due to their financially inferior position. An Islamic divorce is like an Islamic marriage – not recognised by the court for the purposes of the claims that arise on divorce from a legally valid marriage.

The laws about whether a marriage is valid or void were first made in 1949, just after the Second World War, at a time when the Muslim population of this country was far smaller than it is now. Part of the reason for the Independent Review was to look at and make recommendations for bringing the regulation of marriages up to date for Muslims. The recommendation is that all Islamic marriages should be linked to civil registration and that it is the role of the Imam to make this happen.

Hazel Wright, partner at Hunters Solicitors, commented:

“The law on cohabitation in this country is out of date and unsatisfactory. Now those who would have been outside the scope of the law to help them can seek compensation in the courts if their spouse has deliberately refused to have a civil ceremony after a religious ceremony.

“Ms Akhtar and Mr Khan both knew that their Sharia marriage was not a legally registered marriage. It became vital for Ms Akhtar that the English divorce court rule in her favour, that the marriage should be recognised as void, and not a non-marriage. Otherwise she would not have any rights to make any financial claims for herself.

“The ruling that this marriage was just like a marriage for the couple, their families and friends, and indeed it satisfied the UAE authorities, and so was a void marriage has given heart to many who otherwise suffer discrimination.

“An Independent Review into the application of Sharia law in England and Wales, published in February 2018 and commissioned by the then Home Secretary Theresa May, calls for a regime of public education about the legal status of Sharia law. Sadly, it is quite likely that, as with the defusing of the idea of “common law marriage” (which is and can only ever be cohabitation), this won’t be enough.”

Read the full article in The GuardianThe Telegraph, The Independent (also syndicated in Yahoo! News here), the Daily Express, Family Law Week and Scottish Legal News.


Related News

Aug 02, 2021
Henry Hood examines the Thwaite jurisdiction where a client seeks adjustment of a financial remedy order in The Review
Jul 29, 2021
Eri Horrocks discusses what happens to the children when separated parents differ on relocating in WealthBriefing
Jul 28, 2021
Eri Horrocks discusses a practical guide to emergency private children cases in The Review
Jul 27, 2021
Eri Horrocks discusses what separated parents wanting to relocate within the UK need to know in Family Law Week
Jul 22, 2021
Hunters’ success in the Chambers HNW 2021 Guide
Jul 12, 2021
Jo Carr-West and Lara Barton discuss recent recommendations that would assist divorcing couples in managing the CGT implications of separating their financial affairs in Family Law Week
Jul 07, 2021
Hunters’ success in the 2021 Spear’s Family Law Index
Jun 22, 2021
Jo Carr-West and Lara Barton discuss CGT for divorcing couples in WealthBriefing’s Family Wealth Report
Jun 15, 2021
Eri Horrocks discusses what separated parents must consider when wanting to relocate within the UK
Jun 10, 2021
Henry Hood and Nicole Derham discuss what separated parents should be aware of when taking their children abroad on holiday in The Times

© Hunters Law LLP 2021 | Privacy NoticeLegal & Regulatory | Cookies Policy | Complaints Procedure.

Hunters Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (number 657218)